What Is a Maxillofacial Surgeon
Most oral health plans can be managed by a general dentist; however, sometimes a maxillofacial or oral surgeon has to be called into assist with treatment or oral healthcare. If you have never heard of a maxillofacial surgeon, these are doctors that go on to complete an additional four years of schooling after dental school. This schooling takes place as a residency in a hospital where they learn, along with other medical students, concepts of emergency medicine, general surgery techniques and sedation.
A maxillofacial surgeon specializes in treatment that relate to the facial tissues including jaw, mouth and facial structures. These surgeons generally operate out of their own private practice offices, but some are integrated in multifaceted oral health care practices or work out of hospitals.
Some of the most common procedures that patients are referred to a maxillofacial surgeon for are complicated tooth extractions, jaw alignment, and impacted wisdom teeth. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon is not required for all types of oral surgery, some dentists can perform simple procedures in their own offices; however, the more invasive the treatment plan, the more likely your dentist is to refer you to a specialist.
Other procedures or treatments handled by maxillofacial surgeon include:
• Corrective Jaw Surgery- If orthodontics is not able to correct a misaligned bite or jaw, a maxillofacial surgeon may be needed to treat the issue. Some patients with skeletal diseases, bone loss and other chronic disorders are sent to a specialist for jaw surgery management.
• Cleft Lip/Palate- This type of surgery is often performed by maxillofacial surgeons in order to reverse the defects in the facial structure caused by the cleft. Reconstructive surgery may also be needed and performed by a cosmetic surgeon or in some cases the maxillofacial surgeon.
• Implants- Dental implants are often performed by maxillofacial surgeons, especially if there is already bone and jaw issues or multiple implants needing to be placed. Bone grafting is sometimes needing during these procedures which can only be performed by a maxillofacial or oral surgeon.
• Sleep Apnea- Patients who have obstructive sleep apnea may have a consult with an oral surgeon to help treat facial pain and treat skin lesions in the mouth. Surgeons can also be instrumental in diagnosing and treating oral cancer found in sleep apnea patients.
Maxillofacial surgeons are your best option for complex dental issues requiring surgery. Ask your North Miami Beach dentist today about the options in your care plan if you need oral surgery in the future.